Let’s Take A Moment Day 250

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

kurt v

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

One of the things I have always enjoyed in music are the collaborations. Whether they take place on stage at the Grammy Awards or as a special guest appearance at a concert or on a record, I really look forward to hearing what two (or more) different artists will create. In 1981 there were several that I truly adored: James Taylor and J.D. Souther on “Her Town Too”, Gary U.S Bonds and Bruce Springsteen on “This Little Girl”, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and Nicks again with Don Henley on “Leather & Lace”.

The first two songs were Top 20 hits and both of Nicks’ records hit the Top Ten, so all four of those tracks were well received. But there was another musical partnership that year that barely made it into the Top 30 here in America. But on November 21, 1981 it hit the #1 spot on the UK chart. It was written and performed by two rock powerhouses-David Bowie and Queen-and between Bowie’s & Mercury’s vocals, the intensity of the band’s playing and the compelling thought-provoking lyrics, it was a one of a kind monstrous combination. Even the video was unique as it did not feature either artist. Instead, it was a collage of news clips from some of history’s toughest eras intertwined with scenes from black & white horror movies.

The song came together when Bowie joined Queen in the studio to record back-up vocals for a different song. Both artists were working on other tunes they could not finish. They put them together during an inspired jam session resulting in today’s magnificent track. I do not know why it was not a bigger hit here, but to me this song stands out as one of the best moments in musical history.

‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word,
And love dares you to care for the people on the
Edge of the night, and love dares you to
Change our way of caring about ourselves”.

bowie and queen

Queen circa 1985 (L-R): Brian May, Freddie Mercury, John Deacon & Roger Taylor. Far right: David Bowie circa 1972, (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Queen & David Bowie: “Under Pressure” (1981, written by David Bowie & Queen: John Deacon, Brian May, Freddie Mercury & Roger Taylor).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 232

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Thoreau quote 2

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Yesterday marked the 75th birthday of one of my favorite woefully underrated artists, singer/songwriter/actor J.D. Souther. Born John David Souther on November 2, 1945 in Detroit, Michigan he was raised in Texas where he played with a local band before moving to California in the late 1960’s. That is where he first met Glenn Frey and they formed the duo, Longbranch Pennywhistle. They released one album in 1969 that did not make any impact and disbanded a year later. Then he joined the short-lived super group, The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band with Chris Hillman (from The Byrds & The Flying Burrito Brothers) and Richie Furay (from Buffalo Springfield & Poco). They broke up after two albums due to creative clashes.

Souther is considered to be one of the architects of the southern California country rock sound thanks to his collaborations with artists like The Eagles, Jackson Browne & Linda Ronstadt. Some of the songs Souther co-wrote include “Best Of My Love”, “New Kid In Town” & “Heartache Tonight” by The Eagles, “Hearts Against The Wind”, “Faithless Love” and “White Rhythm & Blues” by Linda Ronstadt and “Heart Of The Matter” (Day 89) by Don Henley. Souther also co-wrote & sang harmony vocals on James Taylor’s 1981 hit, “Her Town Too“.

Souther started acting in the 1980’s with roles in TV’s “Thirtysomething” and the movie “Always” where he performed a fabulous version of the 1933 Broadway song made famous by The Platters in 1959, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes“. Most recently he played the role of record producer Watty White in the show, “Nashville”. I love everything he has done but consider today’s song, a top ten hit from 1979, as my favorite of all his accomplishments.

When you need somebody around on the nights that try you
Remember I was there when you were a queen
And I’ll be the last one there beside you;
So you can call out my name
“.

JD Linda 1979

JD-SOUTHER-BW-PHOTO-BY-LINDA-RONSTADT

JD 2015

Top: Linda Ronstadt & J.D. Souther circa 1979. Middle: Souther circa 1979. Bottom: Souther circa 2015. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

J. D. Souther: “You’re Only Lonely” (1979, written by J. D. Souther).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 144

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

When Stevie Nicks was recording her first solo album in 1981, she used many well established singers and musicians to help her pull the project together.  Some of the players included guitarist Davey Johnstone from Elton John’s band, pianist Roy Bittan from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn from Booker T & The MG’s, among others.  The record also included not one but two duets.  The first one, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”, was recorded with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and is a great collaboration.  Nicks wrote the other one for country superstar Waylon Jennings & his wife, Jessi Colter, but they did not end up including it on their album.  I am glad Nicks decided to record herself with Don Henley because I have been swooning over it ever since the first time I heard it.  I was lucky enough to see them perform it together when they toured the northeast many years ago, which was a real treat.  It is one of my favorite duets ever due in large part to the oh so pretty lyrics.

You in the moonlight, with your sleepy eyes
Could you ever love a man like me
And you were right when I walked into your house
I knew I’d never want to leave“.

Leather and Lace

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Stevie Nicks featuring Don Henley:  “Leather and Lace” (1981, written by Stevie Nicks).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 89

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Kerouac

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

As my rock heroes get older, I have noticed a growing and somewhat disturbing trend for them to tell their stories in a documentary.  My guess is if they do it while they are alive they will be able to control the narrative.  I get that.  Does the movie reveal things you never knew?  Yes.  For example, in “Eric Clapton:  Life In 12 Bars”, I learned that when he and his band, Cream, came to America in 1967 to record it was in the hallowed halls of Atlantic Records.  He saw people like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin coming and going.  In fact, he sat in on a rehearsal session with her and her band.  I never knew that (and, oh my God, wow!!!  Just imagining the three of them in the same building at once…swoon!).  I enjoyed discovering that.  And the audio and pictures of Clapton with Duane Allman & Jimi Hendrix are gold. 

I did not need to see, however, all the clips of him drinking so excessively and taking drugs.  His battles with addiction are well documented (his 2007 book, “Clapton: The Autobiography” came out the same year his ex-wife Pattie Boyd released hers).  Message received.  He was an addict.  But he has been sober 33 years which is basically a footnote at the end of the movie.  Watching a man I worship, love & admire in such a painful self-destructive place that he snorted cocaine from a switch blade was not only unnecessary, it seemed purely exploitive.  The director, a friend of Clapton’s, already included a number of clips of him using the drug without the knife.  She made no mention of the movies he’s been in (“Tommy”, “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Blues Brothers 2000”) & basically skipped over his career in the 1980’s, too.  I was hoping to see behind the scenes clips of him making videos (he was a staple on MTV & VH1), or at the Live Aid show or anything else from such a prolific decade of his.  I still recommend it if you have not seen it since this is Clapton, after all.  But just know it is a very hard watch which Clapton himself has stated in several interviews about the film.

To cheer myself up (and to stop from shaking), I went back to watch a doc I missed, 2013’s “History of The Eagles”.  I loved this band growing up and Don Henley’s solo records in the 1980’s.  I knew all about the friction between him and bandmate Glenn Frey so I was prepared for that but otherwise I looked forward to the band’s story.  Or maybe not.  Working under the philosophy that a band is not a democracy but rather an entity requiring leadership, Henley & Frey ran the show.  Period.  And when they were not fighting.  I realize both men had successful solo careers so perhaps maybe that lead to their decision, but those careers sprang from years with a hugely successful band of more than two members.  And both men require co-writers with a lot, if not all of their songs, so they are not doing it all alone.  I know egos go hand in hand with many rock stars, but seeing how arrogant Henley & Frey were towards their bandmates or just in general, particularly Henley, this film neither cheered nor soothed me.  It just made me mad.

I think I need to stop watching documentaries on musicians.

Today’s song is still my favorite solo number from Henley, but true to form I could not find the studio version on YouTube.  It is 2020, we are in the throes of a pandemic where so many of the elite are offering free streaming services or virtual tours, and Henley still refuses to post his videos.  It goes back to a grudge he (and many in the industry) had against the free uploads not paying artists their royalties.  I completely agree that any artist should be paid for their copyright.  But in the last decade, many artists started their own official YT channels to counteract the illegal uploads including Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, the estate of Marvin Gaye and so many others.  Henley has a channel, too, but mostly of live performances.  I do not believe their are any legal issues with his video copyrights, but perhaps there are which is why they cannot be uploaded.  But I am only speculating.  As a fan I find it frustrating, especially because there is such a pretty video for it which I hate not being able to see.  But this live version is the best I could do.

henley

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Don Henley:  “The Heart Of The Matter” (1989, written by Mike Campbell, Don Henley & J.D. Souther).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Song #8

The next song on my countdown is another duet (like song #14) but this one features a female/male collaboration by two of rock music’s most notable voices.  My pick at #8, a song which reached #6 on the Hot 100 Chart in 1982, is “Leather & Lace“.

The song was written by legendary singer/songwriter/Fleetwood Mac band member Stevie Nicks who recorded it with one of her old flames, Don Henley of the Eagles.  Nicks originally wrote the song for country superstar Waylon Jennings and his wife Jesse Colter’s 1981 album.  Despite naming it after the song, the husband & wife duo ended up leaving it off the record (I know, right???).

So Nicks added it to her debut solo album, “Bella Donna”, which was released the same year.  The song was the second single after “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around“, another duet recorded with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

“Leather & Lace” is like many of Nicks’ songs:  well written and well performed.  But the biggest appeal of it for me is how grown up and unschmaltzy the lyrics  are.  I love how direct they are, and how in their beautiful honesty you hear the story of love between adults, first from the perspective of the strong self-assured woman:

“I have my own life and I am stronger
Than you know
But I carry this feeling
When you walked into my house
That you won’t be walking out the door”

To the open and honest standpoint of the male putting it out there without fear of being shot down or belittled (OK yes, it is written by a woman but come on, Ladies, which one of us would not melt if a man ever said (or sang) these words to us):

“And you were right
When I walked into your house
I knew I’d never want to leave
Sometimes I’m a strong man
Sometimes cold and scared
And sometimes I cry”

To both parties acknowledging their desires and differences not as obstacles, but rather as things to be shared:

“I need you to love me
I need you today
Give to me your leather
Take from me my lace”

If there was ever a song perfect enough to celebrate that all important moment when a couple crosses over from “we” to “us”, I believe it is this one.

Enjoy!!!

BONUS:  If you want a good laugh, check out Will Ferrell and Dave Grohl’s version here.

TRIVIA:  Do you know what happened 51 years ago today?  The Beatles arrived in America for the first time.